Rantings, Part I

by Nancy Lai | 6/29/01 5:00am

Since it's sophomore summer (finally!), I believe I'll cultivate a more intimate tone in my column for my fellow '03s and for those random non-'03s out there. Make it more chatty-like. Good idea, no? My logic is this: if any of you send me blitzes pointing out the worthlessness of a particular article of mine, I have a pretty good chance of hunting you down and destroying you, seeing as the Dartmouth population has been reduced to a measly thousand or so souls.

Which brings me to the first (of many) complaints to be aired out via this column this term. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a classist (is that not a word?)I have plenty of friends who are not '03s. (Haha. That sounds familiar, doesn't it? "I'm not racist, I have plenty of minority friends" -- but I digress.) To return to the topic at hand: I find it inordinately ridiculous that I am living on the fourth floor of my dorm while non-'03s are occupying prime rooms in the lower floors of my building. I understand that my housing number was not the best of numbers. I can stomach the fact that perhaps the upperclassmen who are here this term can have priority over SOPHOMORES during SOPHOMORE SUMMER. I understand, too, that those wonderfully pleasant European exchange students should have nice dorm rooms so they can go home with good memories of that strange school in New England composed of students that look like "walking Gap advers." (Did you know that pants are "trousers"? That underwear is "pants"? That high quality marijuana is "skunk"?)

But I really have to put the proverbial foot down when it comes to '04s having better housing than I have. My two roommates and I are relegated to a paltry existence in what used to be a double--a double devilishly converted into a triple--and we have to climb forty-eight (yes, my roommate has counted) steps just to enter our room, room 405, also known as the Ninth Circle of Hell. Horrors.

Well, as my mother always says, "shit happens." (Okay, she really doesn't. But if she were the mother I wish I had, she would say, "shit happens" and things like, "are you sure you don't want another beer?")

This previous mention of beer segues nicely with a few remarks I'd like to make that are related to the uproar over the possibility of the administration actually implementing that "free access" policy. Rather than bashing the administration for acting like "Big Brother," for not respecting intelligent (or at least functioning) college students to make their own decisions concerning alcohol, I will cut to the calcified heart of the problem. The United States has a drinking age of 21 for the very same reason why George W. Bush is our President -- good 'ole, homegrown, made in the U.S. of A. imbecility.

Did you know that only three other countries (Malaysia, South Korea, and Ukraine) have minimum drinking ages of 21? (I know this because of television and the Internet, which are, of course, always reliable and perfectly accurate.)

I pause to acknowledge the need to prevent alcohol related traffic accidents -- and then to point out that Canada has successfully reduced such accidents without having to raise or have an age limit of 21. We have an age limit of 21 to drink when it is possible for "18-20 year olds to marry, to have children, to own cars, homes and firearms and to be financially and socially independent, and yet to be legally prohibited from drinking a glass of wine in a restaurant, or even a glass of champagne at their own wedding." You can shoot to kill and be shot at, but not take a shot? Eh? And then we have that lovely little billion-dollar industry that legally provides 18-year-olds with beautifully packaged sticks of chemically enhanced tobacco for unadulterated carcinogenic enjoyment?


According to my source: "One health official in the Netherlands has said that 'Serving or selling alcohol only to 18 year olds is not workable; 83 percent of the young people between thirteen and sixteen drink alcohol on a regular basis. They really won't stop if this regulation becomes a reality. They will have their older friends buy it.'"